BBC news anchor and correspondent Yalda Hakim received a call from Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen while presenting live on air and seamlessly transitioned the report into an in-depth interview.
Hakim was presenting BBC News when Shaheen called what appeared to be her mobile phone. Within seconds, she had put Shaheen on speaker-phone to ensure viewers could hear him, before requesting he introduce himself.
“Is that fine?” she asked, maintaining eye-contact with the camera. “Can our viewers hear that?” From there, Hakim launched into a 30-minute interview as she quizzed the spokesman on the Taliban’s apparent plans for Afghanistan.
It came as Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fled the country after Taliban forces entered the capital, following a rapid advance across the country that prompted the dramatic fall of the western-backed government.
“There is a lot of chaos and confusion in Kabul at the moment,” Hakim began. “Can you just help us understand what the Taliban plan to do at present, and next?”
"There will be no revenge on anyone" my phone conversation with Taliban spokesperson @suhailshaheen1 who explains to me what the next few days and weeks are likely to look like for the people of Afghanistan https://t.co/geA6Y5PfqN
— Yalda Hakim (@BBCYaldaHakim) August 15, 2021
“We assure the people in Afghanistan, particularly in the city of Kabul, that their properties, their lives are safe,” Shaheen said in reply. ”There will be no revenge on anyone.”
“We are the servants of the people and of this country,” Shaheen continued. “Our leadership has instructed our forces to remain at the gate of the Kabul, not to enter the city. We are awaiting a peaceful transfer of power.”
The journalist continued asking a series of hard-hitting questions, such as whether the militants will impose strict interpretations of Sharia law.
Viewers and colleagues praised how well Hakim handled the situation — all while live on air. They also praised the journalist for her probing questions:
— Andy Kelly 💙 (@Andy_eprr) August 15, 2021
Yalda Hakim is doing a phenomenal job interviewing the Taliban Spokesman on BBC News right now
— Joel Mitchell (@JMtwittor) August 15, 2021Loading...
That BBC Taliban interview is just mind-blowing. All 32 minutes of it. Yalda Hakim is an absolute boss. But can’t imagine anyone is reassured even 1 %
— Aasmah Mir (@AasmahMir) August 15, 2021
Have never witnessed anything quite like what happened in studio this morning, pointing our guest mic at @BBCYaldaHakim own mobile phone as a Taliban spokesman rang it in the middle of her juggling another live interview. Timing is everything, there was no rearranging this. 👏 https://t.co/CemJv8Ec8N
— Swimmers Jackson (@SwimmersJackson) August 15, 2021
Incredible live coverage by @BBCYaldaHakim who gets a phone call live on air on a mobile device from the Taliban spokesman. Yalda has been on air throughout the events taking place in her country of birth over the past few days reporting with poise.https://t.co/RfIVg4btV1
— سلطان سعود القاسمي (@SultanAlQassemi) August 16, 2021
— David Shukman (@davidshukmanbbc) August 15, 2021
A six-month-old Yalda Hakim and family fled Afghanistan on horseback amid the mujahideen-Soviet fighting in the early '80s. Today, the Taliban's spokesperson called her live on air on the BBC. Amazing composure and incisive questioning https://t.co/EpJabiAIfP
— Rahul Kalvapalle (@Kalvapalle) August 16, 2021